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NBA GMs Pick Celtics as Best Defensive Team 10.07.09 at 11:29 am ET
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A survey of NBA General Managers on NBA.com revealed the more than 60 percent of the execs believe the Los Angeles Lakers will win it all again this season. That doesn’t mean, though, the Boston Celtics were not recognized.

The Cs were predicted to win the Eastern Conference, earning 50 percent of the votes. They also received 100 percent of votes to win the Atlantic Division.

Which team will win the Eastern Conference?
Boston Celtics     50.0%
Cleveland Cavaliers     42.9%
Orlando Magic     7.1%

Over 60 percent of GMs selected the Celtics as the best defensive team in the 2009-10 season. Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo each received votes for individual defensive categories. Rondo tied Kobe Bryant with the most votes for best ball-on-ball defender.

Best defensive team:
Boston     60.7%
San Antonio     32.1%
L.A. Lakers     7.1%

Best defensive player:
Dwight Howard, Orlando     46.4%
Kevin Garnett, Boston     17.9%
Ron Artest, L.A. Lakers 17.9%

Best on-the-ball defender:
Rajon Rondo, Boston     25.0%
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers     25.0%
Ron Artest, L.A. Lakers     17.9%

Best interior defender:
Dwight Howard, Orlando     64.3%
Kevin Garnett, Boston     32.1%

Best perimeter defender:
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers     34.5%
Shane Battier, Houston     24.1%
Ron Artest, L.A. Lakers     20.7%
Rajon Rondo, Boston     6.9%

On an individual basis, Garnett received the second-most votes (20.7%) for best power forward behind Tim Duncan. Ray Allen also received votes for best shooting guard.

Click here for complete results on NBA.com. General Managers were not allowed to vote for their own team.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen
Rivers: “I think Rajon Rondo will be a lifetime Celtic” 10.06.09 at 11:25 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics have until the end of the month to decide whether to extend Rajon Rondo‘s contract or let the point guard become a restricted free agent next summer. Doc Rivers, however, has a strong feeling Rondo will be back … for a while.

On Tuesday he told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show:

“I think Rajon Rondo will be a lifetime Celtic. I really do. I think this process he’€™s gone through is the process all players go through at times. The maturity process is another thing that all players go through. I don’€™t think he’€™s behind in that department at all. I just think he’€™s young and he’€™s growing. So, I never had a black mark against him. For maturity issues, that’€™s part of his process of growing up, and he’€™s doing that. He’€™s been as good as anyone. In camp thus far he’€™s doing everything we ask him to do ‘€” and he usually does. I would be very surprised if he’€™s not a lifetime Celtic.”

Click here for a complete transcript of Rivers’ interview.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Rajon Rondo,
Celtics Media Day Wrap Up 09.28.09 at 11:34 pm ET
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The return of Kevin Garnett may have been the hot topic at Celtics media day on Monday, but there were plenty of other news and notes from the C’s …

(Click on the links for more Media Day reaction from Kevin Garnett and coach Doc Rivers.)

Rajon Rondo will become a restricted free agent next summer if the Celtics do not sign him to a contract extension by October. On Monday he was tight-lipped when it came to business, suggesting any questions could be answered by his agent, Bill Duffy. ‘€œI don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t really think about it,’€ Rondo said. ‘€œI try to just focus on camp. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. If not, I’ll play it out.’€ He reiterated that he will play wherever he is wanted and that his main focus is getting another ring. … Rondo, 23, gained 11 pounds this summer ‘€œbecause I’m growing up.’€ He trained with a new weight-lifting routine, ate three meals a day, and cut fast food from his diet. He also plans on hiring a chef.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge would like to keep Rondo around as the team’s point guard for the next 10 years and has had early talks with his agent about future plans. He has not, however, had discussions with Ray Allen about his expiring contract and will not address that issue publicly. … Ainge has high expectations for the upcoming season. He believes the offseason moves and returning talent will be successful. ‘€œWe’ve added some great depth, our young players are improving, and Rondo, Perk and Glen Davis, they made great strides last year and I think they’re even going to better this year as their games are maturing. I think that Rasheed [Wallace] and Marquis [Daniels] give us two more starters, proven starters, that are coming off the bench for us that should give us a lot of depth,’€ Ainge said.

Paul Pierce is making his confidence in the Celtics perfectly clear. He believes they are the best team in the league when healthy, pointing out they were on a record-breaking pace last season prior to injuries. ‘€œPeople are going to say what they want to say about my comments or whatever, but I have total confidence in this ball club,’€ he said. … Even though Doc Rivers would prefer to cut back on the veterans’ minutes this season, Pierce refuses to sacrifice playing time for wins. ‘€œI’m not willing to lose nothing. Next question. I don’t understand that, losing. No.’€ … He compared seeing Kevin Garnett back on the court for 5-on-5 drills as a ‘€œbreath of fresh air.’€

Ray Allen kicked off media day with some humor while waiting for Pierce to join him and Garnett at the podium. Allen grabbed the microphone to locate his teammate: ‘€œPaul Pierce. Paul Pierce. Your food is ready.’€ … The Celtics’ window of opportunity to win a championship has been mentioned since they acquired veterans Allen and Garnett. Allen, though, is more focused on the here-and-now than two or three years down the road. ‘€œWe don’t look at a window. We’re not looking past this year. We can’t look past this year,’€ he said. … Allen is not concerned with adding a player like Rasheed Wallace to the mix. He pointed out many of them have known Wallace since high school and the Celtics have already learned each other’s game.

Kendrick Perkins is heading into training camp 15 pounds lighter than last season and is down to 270 pounds, his lightest total in three years. Perkins did not have a weight-loss regimen but rather trimmed down during his workouts. … His shoulder, which he has dislocated in the past, feels better than it has ‘€œin a while.’€ Perkins noted he is not worried about suffering another injury and is feeling strong. … The big man has been impressed by Wallace on and off the court. Even though he did not know what to expect at first ‘€” ‘€œI didn’t know. I was just waiting to see. It was kind of like scary for a moment,’€ he said ‘€” Perkins praised Wallace’s versatile game and pointed out he is a great addition to the locker room.

Click here to listen to audio clips from media day.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
Report: Rondo would be happy to stay in Boston 09.22.09 at 11:06 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated recently caught up with Rajon Rondo to discuss hot topics surrounding the upcoming season, including the return of Kevin Garnett, the addition of Rasheed Wallace, and the possible outcomes of his current contract situation. As long as the Boston Celtics want Rondo on their team, he told SI he’d be happy to stick around:

SI.com: You could sign a contract extension this fall or you could test free agency next summer when a number of teams will be looking to buy talent. Is that an enticing possibility?

RR: That could be, but it’s still early so I’ve got some time to see how things settle in Boston. If it doesn’t, I’ll play out the fourth year and see how things go next summer.

SI.com: Is it safe to assume you’d prefer to stay with the Celtics?

RR: If the Celtics want me, then I’d be happy to stay.

Click here for the rest of the interview.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Rajon Rondo,
Report: Celtics optimistic about KG 09.11.09 at 11:35 am ET
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After undergoing knee surgery in May, Kevin Garnett returned to the Boston Celtics training facility in Waltham on Monday,  Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported. While the organization hopes he will be cleared to participate in full-court scrimmages for the start of training camp, they are proceeding with caution.

According to Spears, Garnett is currently limited to court drills but could be cleared for contract drills as early as a week before training camp begins. The Celtics main concern, though, is not Opening Night but rather the postseason.

‘€œWe’€™re looking for him to be there at the end of the season, not just the start of the season,’€ Ainge told Yahoo!. ‘€œWe’€™re getting him ready for training camp and looking forward to him being healthy in the playoffs. He looks good. Really good.’€

Garnett has not played since March 25 when he scored four points in 17 minutes during a loss to the Orlando Magic. The Celtics forward, who has not averaged less than 31 minutes per game since his rookie year, has not played over 30 minutes since February 12.

Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Rasheed Wallace have also been working out at the facility.

In Celtics backcourt news, Ainge told Yahoo! he has not decided whether or not the Cs will offer Rajon Rondo a contract extension before the season. In the meantime, the Celtics are considering the addition of a third point guard. Free agents Tyronn Lue, Dan Dickau, and Mike Taylor worked out at the team’s training facility on Thursday.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo
Pierce knew Rondo would not be traded 07.01.09 at 9:25 am ET
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Celtics GM Danny Ainge told Paul Pierce that Rajon Rondo would not be traded, Pierce told Jeff Goodman of WEEI.com and FoxSports.com. “Danny [Ainge] told me and told Kevin [Garnett],” Pierce said. “We knew he wasn’t going to be traded.”

Rondo had been mentioned in several trade rumors before the NBA Draft. Speculation of the Celtics moving the point guard were further fueled by talks of Rondo’s attitude. Ainge revealed on WEEI that the Celtics had fined Rondo for tardiness during the season and did not consider him a max contract player right now. He later reaffirmed the Celtics interest in Rondo, telling WEEI, “I think we value Rondo more than anybody else in the league values him and we know everything about him ‘€” all the good and the bad that comes with a 23-year-old kid who’€™s been put in a pressure kicker.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo,
Ainge on The Big Show: ‘We Value Rondo More Than Anybody Else in the League’ 06.26.09 at 3:32 pm ET
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Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ainge, in an interview on WEEI’s Big Show on Friday afternoon, clarified some of his recent comments about point guard Rajon Rondo earlier in the week. While Ainge has been portrayed as having been critical of Rondo during an interview on the Dennis & Callahan Show — in which the G.M. acknowledged that Rondo had been fined for the “unacceptable” act of having been late for practice during the playoff series against the Magic — he insisted that any concerns about the point guard’s behavior were isolated, and that the team has moved on from them.

“I think we value Rondo more than anybody else in the league values him and we know everything about him — all the good and the bad that comes with a 23-year-old kid who’s been put in a pressure kicker,” said Ainge. ” I don’€™t know if we said he had a bad attitude. I think he needs to mature, like we talked about. But I like Rondo’s attitude. I like Rondo’s competitive spirit. I think the kid, he’s late for a playoff game — we’re not going to condemn him for the rest of his life. We took care of it and it’s over…I’m amazed at how people want to take the little things and blow them out of proportion.”

Ainge also said once again that he does not plan — or want — to trade the 23-year-old.

“We never had any intention of trading Rondo — or Paul Pierce, or Kevin Garnett, or any of our core players, Ray Allen — unless something absolutely blows you away. It is my responsibility to listen and take calls and have discussions to see what those conversations may be,” added Ainge. “He’s going to get better. He’s going to get older, and get more experience. And he’s going to be a terrific point guard for the Celtics in the NBA for a long time.”

Below are some excerpts from the rest of the Ainge interview:

ON TRADE RUMORS

“I think we value Rondo more than anybody else in the league values him and we know everything about him — all the good and the bad that comes with a 23-year-old kid who’s been put in a pressure kicker in Boston. The kid has 40 playoff games under his belt, he’€™s got four Game 7s under his belt as a 23-year-old point guard. Rondo is not perfect. It seemed like the subject of the day a couple days ago was Rondo ‘€“ it was not Paul Pierce or Ray Allen or Kendrick Perkins or anyone else ‘€“ because of all the trade speculation, most of which was bogus.

It’€™s my job to listen and inquire as you get ready to possibly sign a player to a long-term contract or develop strategies within the organization, to really understand and know what the value is out there for a player’€¦

We plan on having this core together, and we plan on adding a couple pieces through free agency, and maybe making smaller deals to make our bench stronger this year. That’€™s always been our main intention.

ON RONDO’€™S ATTITUDE

I was asked a question about him being late for a playoff game and I said, yeah, that kind of behavior is unacceptable. That just means you levee the fine and you move on. That has nothing to do with what we think of Rondo as a player.

He’€™s a very likable guy. He’€™s liked by his teammates. He gets moody sometimes, but so what?

Can I imagine trying to replace something that’s worked so well? Last year I thought that things were well in spite of some of the injuries we had and we won the championship the year before. Every team that wins and every team that loses, there’s always holes, there’s always things that aren’t perfect, and sometimes we let the Big Three get away with things because they’re such talented players, but they have weaknesses too. It seems like because of the trade rumors and because of the upcoming contract situation possibility, [Rondo] just seems to be the topic, and I should have known that. I don’t really think that I ripped Rondo by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think I should have known that maybe saying anything might have just fueled so much more fire. It seems like the things I said that were good about Rondo, those things just get ignored.

ON WHETHER HE HAS SPOKEN TO RONDO’S AGENT, BILL DUFFY:

Oh, no. I really don’t have any intention to, I’ve never even read the quote. I don’t really care. That’s an agent’s job, is to do everything they can to protect the image and player so I’m not even worried about any of that. That stuff bothers me not at all. Typically what happens is sometimes something is taken out of context and somebody reports looking for a response anyone, so I’m sure the whole story wasn’t, ‘should I rip Bill,’ but anyway, that stuff doesn’t mean anything to me.

ON WHETHER THE SPECULATION WAS DRIVEN BY THE MEDIA RUMOR MILL

I can never say to any player that ‘I will never trade you under any circumstance,’ and that might be a dangerous thing to say because then it’s ‘oh, he left an opening.’ But there’s a big difference, I mean, logically, with the age of our team, with the lack of athleticism you get as guys get older, if there’s one thing we need, it’s a young, vibrant, energetic, rebounding, loose-ball-getting, tempo-changing 23-year-old point guard with experience. So if there’s going to be a trade it better be soemthing unbelievably special and that’s where some of these rumors are silly and ludicrous, and I wish that people would just use their heads, use their mind and give us a little more credit when they consider trade rumors.

ON DEALING WITH PLAYERS WHOSE NAMES ARE IN THE RUMOR MILL

I’m honest with them. I tell them when things are real, I tell them when things are not. I tell them what are plans are and what our intentions and goals are and Itell them just like it is. If I did have intention of trading them, if there was something that were true in a rumor and they asked, I would tell them. I’m as honest with these players as I can [be]. I don’t tell them every single conversation I have because conversation means nothing adnso I’m jsut as honest as I can [be] with these players.

ON THE DRAFT IN GENERAL

First of all, nobody would draft the number five pick and let him stay over in Europe for two more years. I tihnk they would have gone a different direction had they known that.

ON KEVIN GARNETT

Kevin, it was amazing. His entire countenance over the last six weeks of the season, he was just kind of down and grumpy and uncomfortable. I think he felt pressure to try to come back and he had all this pain in his knee.

Right after the surgery ‘€“ I mean three days after the surgery ‘€“ a smile on his face, he can bend his knee all the way. He can straighten it out all the way. He just went back to the West Coast the other day. Before he left, I saw him doing full weight workouts. He was doing squats ‘€“ one-legged squats, two-legged squats ‘€“ he was doing most of his whole routine again. His spirit is returned: his enthusiasm for the upcoming season, his hope.

All of a sudden, he’€™s back to being the real Kevin Garnett. His personality has returned. You could just see that once he had that bone spur on the back of his knee, that that was really bothering him.

ON QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER GARNETT COULD HAVE RETURNED DURING THE PLAYOFFS

It’s just all talk. Everybody thinks they know, everybody hasa different view, and then everybody starts speculating on all sorts of conspiracy theories. You should have heard all the media trying to contact me. ‘What was going on?’ and ‘he’s got these secret ACL tears.’ One thing I would always say to the media is ‘think about the situation before you respond. I mean, if he had an ACL tear, why in the world would you ever not give surgery immediately? There’s so many things out there that people don’t think before they report.

He was not going to come back and play, most likely. The pain management– I mean, the fact that he came back and played before and played OK even though he wasn’t the real Kevin Garnett, he played OK. I think as an organization we were holding out hope that that might be the case, the he can give us 15 or 20 minutes, and, you know, maybe a Willis Reed-type surge for a couple of works and really that was just KG and the doctors, if he could do it. We were never putting pressure on him and he never anticipated or expected that to happen, but there was a tiny bit of hope that that might happen. In hindsight maybe we should have relieved Kevin of that pressure, but I do not think he was going to play against Cleveland or in the NBA Finals, not unless he just felt this surege and this adrenneline rush that was going to get him out there, but after the surgery he was so much better. He wasn’t healthy after the surgery, it’s going to take another couple months for him to be healthy enough to play basketball, but we’re very encouraged by the range of motion and strength that’s returned to his knee. On top of that, before the surgery he was really able to get strong– really, really strong– and I think that’s always helpful in your rehab from the surgery.

ON SHAQ TO THE CAVS:

I think that that’s a good pickup for Cleveland, especially since they didn’t really give up anything to get Shaq there, so how it all works will be everybody’s guess, if it’s going to make them that much better, but it doesn’t change our plans. We’ve had some plans on what we intend to do this summer for the last month or two, as we see weaknesses in our team and what we can do to improve from our core and build around them and improve our bench, and our plans have not changed any.

ON VINCE CARTER TO ORLANDO AND THE IMPROVING EAST:

It will be interestng to see, I mean they still don’t have Turkoglu signed, there’s speculation that he may go somewhere, so Vince Carter may have been insurance for Turkoglu. So we’ll see what the final product is. Vince Carter’s a very good player, it’s a good aquisiton. For the price they gave up to get Vince Carter it’s a good risk. Even though Courtney Lee was really becomming a good player, he had a fantastic rookie year, and usually guys come back after a fantastic rookie year with a teriffic second year. So it’s not like theydidn’t give anything up, but Courtney Lee still probably isn’t Vince Carter. Courtney is a much better defender than Vince but Vince is more of a dynamic scorer. So I think it’s a good trade for Orlando.

Washington is the team I think that’s probably improved themselves the most with Mike Miller, Randy Foye, and of course Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood coming back healthy. They’ll be a real force in the East as well.

D.J. Bean contributed to this report.

Read More: Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo,
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